KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society gets R1.5m for early childhood initiative

29 August 2018: The KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society (KZNBDS) has received a R1.5 million investment  from the FNB Fund to improve early detection of impaired vision and hearing among children at Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) in KZN eThekwini North District.

In line with its commitment to improve the quality of life of visually and hearing  impaired citizens, KZNBDS has conceptualised an outreach programme for early detection of impaired vision and hearing, targeting nearly 12 000 children at 113 ECD centres.

Howard Arrand, Chairman of the FNB Fund says, “early childhood development is chronically under resourced in South Africa and as a result, it is a primary focus for the FNB Fund. We firmly believe that our support for KZNBDS will help to facilitate the integration of children whose learning development may be hindered by impaired hearing and vision.”

Justice Zak Yacoob, President of the KZN Blind and Deaf Society adds that “children with disabilities are often excluded from early learning opportunities because of stigma, access to adequate facilities and the general lack of awareness in communities, particularly rural areas. However, research shows that the inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream early childhood development centres significantly improves their learning ability and integration into society.”

According to the South African Early Childhood Review of 2017, there are still vast inequalities in children’s circumstances and opportunities from the time they are born. Nearly two-thirds of children under 6 in South Africa live in the poorest 40% of households. The Review states that some children may be more difficult to reach or may not come into regular contact with service points like clinics, however by ensuring that all children get the full package of essential early services, they can have a more equal start in life.